New Book From Proficientz Turns Traditional Product Management Upside Down

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Atlanta Firm Publishes 25 Best Practices for B2B Product Management, Challenges User-Centric Product Focus

25 Best Practices for B2B Product Management

“Many B2B companies put a lot of emphasis on building, marketing and selling products and features the way a consumer product company would, instead of leveraging the value of their product portfolio to deliver high-value business solutions.”

It’s not that John Mansour doesn’t think building products for users is important. He’s just seen too many business-to-business (B2B) organizations practicing consumer product management — where the focus of uncovering and meeting needs rarely goes beyond a product’s users.

Businesses value integrated multi-product solutions much more than any single product because those solutions have a greater impact on the strategic goals of their organization. That’s the key difference between B2B product management and consumer product management – solutions impact the business goals of the organization whereas products focus only on user value.

“Many B2B companies put a lot of emphasis on building, marketing and selling products and features the way a consumer product company would, instead of leveraging the value of their product portfolio to deliver high-value business solutions,” says Mansour, founder and managing partner of Atlanta-based Proficientz. “But it’s important to understand that in B2B, the greatness of a product isn’t measured by its sales performance alone. It’s measured by the value it adds to one or more solutions and the extent to which those solutions are driving the organization’s growth in key market segments.”

The way companies tend to structure product management doesn’t compensate for this difference, Mansour explains. Most product management teams consist of product managers only, working in silos and narrowly focused on trying to build great products for their users. In a B2B organization, that structure is a recipe for competing silos and constantly changing priorities that kill a company’s momentum because no one is looking at the big-picture dynamics in each market segment, the impact they have the customer’s business from the top down and the operational obstacles that make their strategic goals challenging.

“When product management teams see the business of their customers in the same way those customers see their own business, the goals and challenges that they should focus on are intuitively obvious,” Mansour notes. “From there, products and services become the means to the end, and can be combined in different ways to deliver solutions with more value to the customer’s business than any single product or service.

Reversing the traditional “user-focused” approach is just one of the strategies he discusses in his new book, “Managing Products to Deliver Solutions – 25 Best Practices for B2B Product Management.”

Mansour’s best practices stem from 25+ years of experience as a practitioner and consultant advising several thousand organizations of all sizes. Across a diversity of industries, products and services, he’s boiled down the many unique challenges organizations face, and the root cause always comes down to one fundamental issue: B2B organizations are trying to manage, market and sell products from a business-to-consumer (B2C) playbook – trying too hard to build “great products” for users instead of building and delivering high-value solutions for businesses. And that approach will only take a B2B organization so far before it hits the wall.

“When product management teams are 100% product focused with no component that mirrors the business of their customers, there’s an appreciable gap because no one is uncovering customer business needs that are essential from a senior management and executive point of view,” he says.

Managing Products to Deliver Solutions is available in eBook and paperback for $9.99 and can be purchased from the following providers:

  •     Apple iBookstore
  •     Amazon Kindle
  •     Barnes & Noble Online
  •     Kobo
  •     Baker & Taylor
  •     Copia
  •     Gardner's
  •     eSentral
  •     Scribd
  •     Goodreads
  •     Oyster
  •     Flipkart
  •     Ciando
  •     EBSCO
  •     ePub Direct

About Proficientz
Proficientz was founded in 2001 to help B2B organizations of all sizes utilize their portfolio of products to create integrated multi-product solutions that have exponentially more value than any single product. Proficientz offers the only framework and training programs that develop the product management, product marketing and sales enablement competency specifically for B2B organizations. Learn more at http://www.proficientz.com and subscribe to the B2B Product Manager Magazine.

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JOHN MANSOUR
Proficientz
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